For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” – Romans 8:14-15
In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, – Ephesians 1:11
What is the meaning of adoption and inheritance in Paul’s letters? How are they related?
First of all, what is adoption? Adoption is the process of bringing a person who is not related to you into your home and making him/her a member of your family. So, what does it mean in Romans when it says that we “have received the Spirit of adoption”? Basically, it means that once we have accepted Jesus Christ as our savior and recognize that we have been saved through grace, God has adopted us into His family forever. That is great news! It means that we will have the same privileges and responsibility that God’s own son would have. This is where the part about inheritance come in.
What is inheritance? Inheritance is essentially something you receive from your family, usually after a loved one’s death or once you leave the house. In Ephesians it says that we have “obtained an inheritance” that was predestined for us by God. What is that inheritance? It is the promise of life after death. The promise that we will spend eternity with God in heaven after we die.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward – Colossians 3:23-24
So we can work hard on this world while we live, and look forward to the day when we will receive our inheritance and live forever with our God in heaven.
How do the topics of inheritance and adoption tie together, though? Do they intertwine at all, or are they completely different topics? Inheritance and adoption are very closely related actually and here is why:
Generally, you cannot receive an inheritance unless you are a son/daughter of someone. So, we are not entitled to receive the inheritance from God unless we are His son or daughter. However, God is ready to adopt us and bring us into His family if we will only receive Him. Once we accept God’s free gift of salvation through His son Jesus Christ, we become God’s children through that adoption. Because of this, we can then receive the inheritance that God promises to give to all of His children.
Now you see how the concepts of adoption and inheritance in Paul’s message relate to each other and tie together. These two basic concepts are essential for our salvation. Think about it; what if God had decided not to adopt us into His family? We would then never receive the inheritance and live forever with Him in heaven. This just goes to show you how loving and full of grace our God is.